Category Archives: Multimedia projects.

More soundscape sneak previews

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Tony and I,  Aberdeen Canyon, Sept 2014. Calder Cheverie Photo.

Here’s another preview clip from Confluence at Aberdeen Canyon.

This soundscape project is part of the worldwide premiere of The Peel Project, a documentary about activism, identity, and art, which will take place at the Arts Commons in Calgary, Alberta in February 2016.

 

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40 Week Journal

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We had a screening fundraiser last night. We had some great films, and it was exciting to see Fool’s Love: A 40 week journal, the short film I’d written some poetry for last year, up on the big screen. It’s inspired by a very personal story the filmmaker shared with me. Some of those in attendance asked to see the poem in print, so here it is.

A 40 Week Journal

4 weeks, a poppy seed. Tip of a paintbrush bristle.

You were the one we blamed everything on: spilled ink, clay left to harden.

Your hands covered in fish scales, this was no deterrent.

Bonnie and Clyde. Randy and Evi, in a Prius, on the run

from the Hollywood mind control. We blamed anyone we could.

 

6 weeks, a lentil. Plasticine eye of a dragon.

The man in the sculpture is having a scotch while the dragon

creeps up behind him. Open, you said to me. Free. I follow you to the dike,

to the Pit, to Gert’s. I look for you by the dredge pond.

I wonder if I am the dragon.

 

8 weeks, a kidney bean. The size and colour of an endometrial cyst.

My traitorous sex, my insides, out. A scarred up womb.

They said I’d never see the plus sign,

the blue line. Tonight we saw them both. Faded, but there.

 

12 weeks, a lemon. A product with flaws too great or severe to serve its purpose.

Ok, my breasts are still sensitive

and I got a charley horse on Saturday morning,

those are my only indications that yes, there might be something inside.

 

18 weeks, a banana, with a heartbeat, on a monitor.

7 o’clock, Mary and Solvey came with me,

even though they’re not morning people. I can’t find you. Not at the dredge pond.

Not at your sister’s. I can’t find my brushes—you took them.

I want to paint.

You don’t make it.

 

22 weeks, a mango. Sickly sweet.

You don’t make it.

 

28 weeks.

I’m in emergency. Just a scare. You don’t make it.

 

30 weeks.

Cook me breakfast and disappear.

 

32 weeks.

Tell me I don’t have to worry. Words under water. Submarine.

 

36 weeks, a cantaloupe.

A small, manageable depth charge.

 

40 weeks, a pumpkin. Hello, Pumpkin.

We had a good good-bye, no crying, and you were gone.

What collaboration looks like.

Kerry Barber - a 40 week journal Corrected (1)-1 copy

Here’s a little teaser from Fools Love: 40 Week Journal. A few days ago, Kerry sent me an email with the title 40 week journal corrections. There was a PDF attached.

Now, I can take feedback like a champ, but corrections? Now? The film is set to screen this weekend, and I certainly don’t have time to be making changes, and WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, CORRECTIONS? There are no MISTAKES in this poem! This is not a test!

So, yeah, my hackles went up.

Kerry, an expert in dealing with sensitive artist types, had anticipated my stiff-backed response. “I don’t want you to change your poem-” the first line of the email, “but some of the details aren’t true to life.”

I bemoaned the vagaries of long-distance collaboration. Readied my speech on poetic license and on how fictionalization can add a comfortable buffer zone between an artist and her piece. Especially when it’s emotionally charged. I had a feeling she knew this. I recalled times when I was about to read a new poem or story and suffered an eleventh-hour panic attack, believing that everything needed to be different-Iambic hexameter enforced, names changed to protect the guilty.

Then just read the rest of the damn email.

“I just want my daughter to understand exactly what happened, one day when she’s old enough. I want a copy of your poem with all the facts straight.” I opened the PDF. What I found was a running commentary, and the inclusion of a few dates. There were no big red X marks, no F- at the top. I hadn’t failed. Kerry didn’t want to change the poem, but this was her poem, her story, facilitated by me. She needed to put her mark on it. The last word- for the record. I could appreciate that.

Update on “Fools Love: 40 Week Journal” at Dawson short film fest.

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Dawson City International Short Film Fest 2013 program is online! Fools Love is part of the Cold Cuts section of the festival, under the Yukon and Beyond heading, and will screen on March 29. 

Kerry had already completed the film when she contacted me to see if I had any poetry on young, foolish love that she could use as voiceover. Much to my surprise, I had a ton. Turns out the only time I really write about love, it’s of the foolish variety. So I sent her everything I had. But this piece is very close to Kerry’s heart, being somewhat auto-biographical, and It soon became obvious that we were going to have to write something that told Kerry’s story.

This was a challenge. Nearly all my writing is auto-biographical. I don’t spend a lot of time trying to get into strange character’s heads, because most of my characters are an extension of me. Now I was going to get inside a real person’s head, a friend who had suffered a serious betrayal at a vulnerable time in her life. Arguably, the most vulnerable time of her life.  I told Kerry to write out the entire story and send it to me, to not worry about spelling or punctuation or structure. I wanted the Journal entry version. Raw.

And that is exactly what I received: a sprawling email complete with irrational anger, petty thoughts, and the odd F-bomb. Kerry is a brutally honest and fearless storyteller. The email also contained some useful, 20/20 vision hindsight on the forty week journey I was about to chronicle. A talented artist, Kerry gave me her blog address, so I was able to take a look at how she expressed herself visually during this time. After a look through this material, I was primed.

That’s all I want to say right now, since I don’t want to get into spoiler territory. Working on the poem was difficult and emotionally wrenching and really, really rewarding. I’m honoured to have been included. Big thanks to Kerry, and I wish I could be there for your sparkly moment. You’re going to kill ’em.

Dawson City International Short Film Fest.

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Kerry Barber’s experimental short film, Fool’s Love, will be screened at the Dawson City International Short Film Festival March 28-31. The film features two of my poems, 40 Week Journal, which I wrote specifically for the project and Randy and Evi. Congrats, Kerry!

Photo Credit.